Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Monday, July 3, 2017

Pragmatic Theology

  I have a tendency to be just a bit pragmatic about things. I suppose that is a result of my upbringing. I didn't come from a poor family, we had enough, but we weren't rich either. I'd say all us kids were taught to accept things they way they were. If you couldn't afford it, you couldn't afford it ! It really was just that simple. It was the same as if Mom said no, that meant no. It really was the only sensible and practical way to be. And that is what being pragmatic entails, dealing with whatever in a sensible and practical way. It really doesn't have much to do with being fair. Fair is a theoretical state and rarely exists in the real world. The reason is because of a basic human trait, prejudice. Yes, we are all prejudicial in our thoughts and actions. We may become aware of some of that and make a self conscious effort to not act in that way, we may even take an oath not to, Judges and Jurors do that, but our thoughts are still prejudiced. The proof of that is when we make that conscious effort to " do the right thing. " We feel it is wrong but rule contrary to that feeling. Was the prejudice removed ? No, it was only set aside at that moment. The best of us do that on a consistent basis. If we seldom do that we are then labeled what ? Racist is the first thing that comes to mind, but there are many other forms of prejudice. All prejudice impedes pragmatic thought.
 Now being a pragmatist doesn't preclude a belief in God. The pragmatic person doesn't deal in theory. That is true, but that doesn't mean he can't be optimistic. God can not be proven to exist nor can he be proven not to exist. So, is God a theory ? I would say no, God is a belief. In some fashion you could look at it like this. I buy a scratch off lottery ticket. Is it guaranteed to be a winner ? Of course it isn't but you believe it can be. Is that a sensible reason to buy that ticket ? No. Is it a practical way to finance your needs ? No. So you could then say the pragmatic person would never buy a lottery ticket. I would say that person is being optimistic. I would further say he is sacrificing the sensible for a dream. He could win ! When it comes to God you could win just as well. You won't know until after you die, after you scratch that ticket so to speak. Religion and religious belief does serve a practical purpose in my thinking. If that belief gives a person hope or offers comfort it is a very good thing. There is no denying the power of God in motivating people. Well, for the non-believer that power would be the power of conviction. When a people are convinced of the " righteousness " of their cause, that their God is behind them, great deeds are performed. It is true that equally horrendous deeds are performed for the same reason. So yes religion can be a practical and sensible tool to employ. You must remember it is only the machinations of man that get things all screwed up. If we all lived according to " natural law " and not the laws that man create the world would be a much nicer place. Natural law is defined as a body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct. They contain those unalienable rights the founding fathers mentioned as well.
 We all know that man doesn't follow those " natural laws. " The reason for that is prejudice. We humans tend to not like things that are different or unfamiliar to us. When other cultures endorse certain qualities that are in contrast to our own that is the result. The truth is it has always been that way and will always be that way. That is the pragmatist in me speaking. So how do we overcome prejudice ? I think that can be accomplished by the removal of fear. That is because that is what I believe prejudice to be, a fear of the unknown. If we can break down that fear then we can begin to understand one another. That begins when we have an open and honest discussion. If I am afraid to say certain things that can never happen. " Political Correctness " as that term is currently being employed does not allow for that discussion. Straight talk is what is required. What prevents that ? Fear ! That is the only answer that I can find. It is fear alone that is being employed as a tool in this discussion.
 It is the belief in God that unifies a nation. It doesn't matter what that God is. If you can get the people to believe, to place their faith in their God, they are united. As I said, God certainly is a great motivator. The proof of that is written in the history of man and in the rise and fall of nations. Can God remove fear ? No I don't believe that. Fear is a human emotion same as prejudice. God can help you overcome both, if you believe. The issue that man needs to resolve is what God ? But beyond that the underlining issue is what are the requirements of that God ? Does God even have requirements ? Will all mankind ever be on the same page ? I highly doubt that. I do believe we had our chance and blew it ! Power and greed have overcome belief. The old bird in the hand analogy. And in that analogy lies the root of prejudice as well. For isn't prejudice just the pre judging of something ? We have decided, made a judgment ahead of time that a bird in the hand is better than one in the brush. We don't know if the one in the brush is fatter or indeed maybe there are several but adopted that phrase almost as an axiom. It does speak to the nature of man doesn't it ?